I’m so done shoveling dung in Velen, mum. I’ve found the letter. It’s my ticket to becoming the talk of the town. Why wouldn’t I join the School of the Wolf? I know, I know. Slaying monsters and forging questionable alliances is not what you’d had in mind for me. But I’m destined to train with other witchers. It’s just a matter of surviving the trials, you know? And I’ve researched those potions properly…
In the Witcher universe, the Trial of the Grasses is your only gateway to becoming one. Just drink this alchemical thingamajig, they said. It’s just “the grasses”, they said. But did any witcher candidates read the fine print? This agonizing mutation “causes witchers to become infertile, while significantly increasing their physical strength and sharpening their senses” and “deprive them of emotions and human reflexes”. Win some, lose some..?
Here’s a refresher of “Va Fail, Elaine” quest, feat. Uma and his rather painful trial:
Yup. Much worse than your worst hangover.
Still willing to join Geralt’s squad? Luckily, we’ll imbibe in delicate measures!
The OG recipe for the Decoctions of the Grasses asks for monster parts, herbs and roots. That questionable mixture is split across three decoctions: Speargrass Sap, Mother’s Tears and Wildrye Juice. Although I’d checked my local market for a manticore poison gland, I had to cut corners, mkay? So the first goal was to find real-life equivalents of the Witcher’s plants: bryonia, ribleaf and mandrake. The tiny icon of the Decoctions in my inventory suggested that the potions must be blue, red and pale. And thus began the creative process.
Let’s break down the ingredients and inspiration for each cocktail.
Decoction #1: SPEARGRASS SAP
The “speargrass” part was realized as Żubrówka, a Polish bison grass vodka. I’d featured it in my Disco Elysium cocktail already, but this setting just hit the spot. Ginger syrup was used to reference the Witcher’s “mandrake” root ingredient. Recipes for home-made syrups are plentiful at Wlad W. Webzevski’s alchemy shop (= the internet). Don’t be intimidated to try them!
60 ml (2 oz) Polish Vodka
23 ml (0.75 oz) Ginger Syrup
23 ml (0.75 oz) Lemon Juice
Decoction #2: MOTHER’S TEARS
It’s the “tears” that led to using blue curaçao, the bittersweet orange liqueur. The real “bryonia” plant is toxic, so I referenced its white petals for the elderflower instead. That flavour’s tried and tested in mixology, either as elderflower liqueur or syrup. And while it won’t induce the near-death experience of the Witcher trials, maaaybe it’s for the best?
60 ml (2 oz) London Dry Gin
30 ml (1 oz) Lime Juice
23 ml (0.75 oz) Elderflower Syrup
15 ml (0.5 oz) Blue Curaçao
Decoction #3: WILDRYE JUICE
“Rye” is for rye whiskey, ez. I racked my brain looking for a “ribleaf” substitute across herbs and berry leaves. Creme de cassis, the sweet red liqueur made from black currants, seemed just dark and local enough to the Witcher universe. Black currant leaves are fairly medicinal, so there! A stretch, but it’s mine. Mixing it with grenadine syrup helped me get that red hue.
60 ml (2 oz) Rye Whiskey
30 ml (1 oz) Lemon Juice
23 ml (0.75 oz) Grenadine Syrup
15 ml (0.5 oz) Creme de Cassis
While the ingredients may be daunting, the preparation’s pure Level 1 Alchemy!
- Pre-chill a cocktail glass or a potion bottle in the freezer.
- Pour a cocktail’s ingredients into a Boston shaker.
- Add some large chunks of ice into the shaker.
- Seal and shake for 8-10 seconds until frosty.
- Strain the cocktail into the chilled glass, using a Hawthorne strainer.
- Repeat until you’ve prepared all three cocktails.
- Start the Grasses Trial alone or share the brews with fellow witchers.
- Emerge victorious with improved wit, reflexes and feline sight.
- Toss a coin to your bartender, o’ valley of plenty… ♫
Suggested Sipping Soundtrack:
For a heated match of Gwent and a pub fight to sort it out:
And smoothly transitioning you into a Cyberpunk 2077 mood:
May you find refuge from the quarantine’s wild hunt! Any requests for video game mixtures (boozy or virgin!) are welcome, as always.
Check the archive for a game you’d drink? 🙂
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